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The Black Forest Paperback – April 27, 2004

4.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Graphic novels by Mike Mignola
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A mixture of familiar genres, literary characters and story lines, this cinematic comedy adventure comic has a dash of horror. It borrows heavily from the Indiana Jones series while integrating literary elements of Frankenstein and the legend of Nosferatu. Jack Shannon, a brash young American WWI pilot, volunteers to find a castle in the legendary German Black Forest, where the Kaiser is housing his latest war weapon: an army of resurrected Frankenstein soldiers who have the ability to regenerate themselves. Gathering a predictably colorful band of misfits to solve the mystery, Shannon is soon taking on an indestructible army of resurrected corpses, accompanied by a French spy disguised as a seductive gypsy woman, and effete occultist Archibald Caldwell. Formulaic and predictable, this work relies on age-old dialogue, banter and plots. However, its optimistic humor and rousing action sequences could make it suitable for teenage audiences. Vokes's art maintains a casual sketchy style; the loose drawings are free and fluid. Alas, the watercolored grays and blacks often look muddy on the page.
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"...more ghoulishness than you could shake a cross at...creative and endearing..." -- Monsters From The Vault, Summer 2004

"Admission to this monster rally is essential for cmics and horror fans alike." -- Comic Book Marketplace, August 2004

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Product Details

  • Series: Black Forest
  • Paperback: 104 pages
  • Publisher: Image Comics (April 27, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582403503
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582403502
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.3 x 10.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #650,672 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By Curt Purcell on April 19, 2004
Format: Paperback
BLACK FOREST is clearly a labor of love on the part of all of its
creators, and if there's any justice in the world, it will be
recognized and embraced by monster fans everywhere with an
equally fervent love. The sources of inspiration are obvious and
undisguised--classic black and white horror movies, from Murnau's
NOSFERATU up through Universal's HOUSE OF monster rallies. With such
materials as these, BLACK FOREST achieves a rare alchemy of synthesis
and transcendence. It's been described as the Universal movie that
was never made, and I would go further to say it is the Universal
movie we wished for and never got. The increasingly bitter
disappointments that culminated in ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET
FRANKENSTEIN are more than made up for in BLACK FOREST, which seems
to channel the collective dream of fans for a monster mash that
really, truly rocks.
This is one of those rare cases where a cover doesn't promise more
than the book delivers. The cover by Michael Avon Oeming and Tom
Smith is accurately evocative, well-composed, and hopefully alluring
enough to make people pick up the book, but the real treats lie
How many comics make you sit up and take notice of the credits? The
inside cover accomplishes that with an outstanding movie poster
design. Kudos to the people who came up with that idea and designed
the page. It looks fantastic. The image of the Frankenstein monster
reflected in-the lens of a gas mask that has been crushed into the
mud succeeds on so many levels that I'll just say you have to see it
for yourself.
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Format: Paperback
THE BLACK FOREST is that rarest of modern comics, a good old-fashioned action romp devoid of excess violence, sex, and foul language (though there are plenty of racy elements here that the Comics Code would not approve, including the presence of vampires, werewolves, and other supernatural creatures). If you are looking for 50 severed heads, a liberal sprinkling of gargantuan bare breasts, and enough variations of the F word to make the cast of DEADWOOD blush, this ain't the book for you. If you believe comics aren't any good unless the heroes are tortured or insane loners who offer no inspiration for others, you should stick to some of the lesser Batman and X-Men ink-wasters.
THE BLACK FOREST is the kind of comic that, with a few minor changes, would have thrilled fanboys in the Golden Age. Neil Volkes' stylized art is a matter of taste, yet it nicely captures the gee-whiz fun of old-school funnybooks. The liberal use of shadows and darkness properly convey the late Gothic mood, and the ladies Ilsa and Isabella are properly fetching. The script by Livingston and Tinnell is lively, spooky, and fun without descending into the camp and over the top action set pieces that nearly derailed VAN HELSING, a film to which this graphic novel must, inevitably, be compared. With nice homages to NOSFERATU, FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLF MAN, THE BLACK CAT, and a thousand other old horror flicks, THE BLACK FOREST is the perfect gift for that eccentric uncle of yours who sports a "Zacherle for President" button and boasts about his complete set of CASTLE OF FRANKENSTEIN magazines.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been anxiously awaiting the release of "The Black Forest" for several months now, ever since I first saw preview images from the project. Having waited so long, with growing excitement, I feared the graphic novel couldn't possibly live up to my expectations.
I was entirely wrong; this project met all of my expectations and, in some ways, exceeded them.
The artwork is a bit more "stylized" than I normally care for, but it is first rate work regardless. The black and white art did a fabulous job of appropriating the feel of the old Universal horror films of the 30s and 40s.
The trinity of Univeral horror monsters -- Frankenstein's creation, werewolf, and vampire (although Dracula, here, is replaced by an even older cinematic vamp, Graf Orlock) -- are treated with dignity. The entire project is mercifully free of camp and irony. The creatures here are spooky and creepy in that wonderful way that no modern films seem able to match.
The plot is fun and engrossing, and quite brisk. In fact, my only complaint about "The Black Forest" is that it felt a bit rushed. There were scenes and concepts that could have benefited greatly by being expanded upon. The project could have supported quite a few more pages without being stretched too thin.
"The Black Forest" is simply one of the best graphic novels I have read.
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Format: Paperback
In every way VAN HELSING failed to become the perfect homage to the Classic Universal Monsters, THE BLACK FOREST succeeded.

The setting is Europe during World War I. The unlikely pair of American flying ace Jack Shannon and British stage magician Archie Caldwell are sent to infiltrate a castle situated in the mysterious region of the Black Forest. They get far more than they bargained for when they uncover a plot to reanimate an army of the dead, leading to dangerous encounters with a pack of savage werewolves, a group of bloodthirsty Nosferatu, and a fully-charged Frankenstein Monster.

Robert Tinnell and Todd Livingston make an unforgettable first impression on the world of comic books and graphic novels. The action is fast-paced and non-stop, the mood is dark and eerie, and all the characters are always full of surprises; one never knows for sure WHICH side a particular character is playing on, until it's too late.

Reading THE BLACK FOREST without the art of comic veteran Neil Vokes is unthinkable. His renditions of the werewolves, the Nosferatu, and the Frankenstein Monster are at once hard-core and rooted in Classic Monster mythology. The Monster is of a particularly intriguing design, appearing to be inspired from characteristics described by Mary Shelley and portrayed by Boris Karloff. The uniqueness of his physique is a total match for that of his characterization, as the reader will discover.

The inkwashed black-and-white technique fits the tone of the book perfectly. Like the Classic Universal Monster films, THE BLACK FOREST just wouldn't have the same impact in color.

There's really nothing bad to say about this graphic novel. One or two scenes may seem a bit too dark, but this is a minor gripe.
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